Oil eases but set for highest weekly gain since July

The IEA said stocks in developed countries could fall below Opec's key five-year average target in May or June.

OPEC agreed in December to cut oil output by 1.8 million bpd until the end of 2018. They mention that "it is not for us to declare on behalf of OPEC that it is mission accomplished", and that "if our outllok is accurate, it certainly looks very much like it".

OECD commercial oil stocks declined by 25.6 million barrels month-on-month in February to 2.84 billion barrels, the IEA estimated, the lowest level since April 2015.

Brent crude rose by 44 cents to $72.46 a barrel at 0821 GMT, up about 8 percent on the week.

In an interview with Reuters in New Delhi, Barkindo said the initial draft of a longer-term alliance agreement between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers would be discussed at their June meeting in Vienna.

OPEC itself estimates OECD oil stocks now stand at 43 million barrels above the five-year average.

Meanwhile, the forecast for global oil demand was increased by 30,000 bpd to 1.63 million bpd.

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Confirming estimates by S&P Global Platts, the IEA said a third of the March cuts came as a result of intentional reductions from Venezuela and Mexico, which have lost a combined 890,000 b/d versus the October 2016 baseline. The modest decline was due to higher USA production that offset a further cut to OPEC production.

"Losses from Venezuela helped push OPEC crude output to the lowest level in almost three years and raised (the OPEC cut) compliance to an eye-popping 163%", the IEA said.

The 14-member, Vienna-based producer group said its collective output, according to secondary sources, fell 201,000 bpd to 31.96 million bpd in March from February, driven by declines in Angola, Algeria, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Libya.

Our balances show that if OPEC production were constant this year, and if our outlooks for non-OPEC production and oil demand remain unchanged, in 2Q18-4Q18 global stocks could draw by about [600,000 barrels a day].

The global oil stocks surplus is close to evaporating, OPEC says. Stockpiles of refined products already have fallen below the five-year average. Demand from India increased by 380,000 barrels a day in the first two months of the year.

US drillers added seven oil rigs in the week to April 13, bringing the total count to 815, the highest since March 2015, General Electric Co's (GE.N) Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.

  • Ronnie Bowen